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Syria allows planes of Qatar Airways to use airspace after 8 years

Syria allows planes of Qatar Airways to use airspace after 8 years

Syria allows planes of Qatar Airways to use airspace after 8 years
April 23
19:54 2019

The Syrian government has agreed to a request by the Qatari civil aviation authority to allow planes of Qatar Airways to fly over Syria, eight years after the Persian Gulf's peninsular state suspended its ties with Damascus.

“Transport Minister Ali Hammoud has agreed to allow Qatar Airways to cross Syrian airspace, based on a request from the Qatari civil aviation authority,” the Syrian Ministry of Transport said in a statement late Monday.

When a foreign-sponsored deadly war broke out in Syria in March 2011, Doha severed ties with Damascus and supported the so-called armed opposition groups in Syria.

Qatar Airways kept its planes at bay and took longer routes to circumvent the war zone, a policy that was also adopted by most other international airlines.

The conflict in Syria has largely wound down in recent years and government troops, backed by Russian air cover since 2015, are now in control of most of the country. The Takfiri terrorist groups are either completely defeated and destroyed or significantly weakened.  

“The agreement came on the principle of reciprocity, as Syrian Air crosses Qatari airspace and never stopped flying to Doha throughout the war,” the statement further said, adding that the use of Syrian airspace would see “increased revenues in hard currency for the benefit of the Syrian state.”

Syria also saw its membership in the Arab League suspended in November 2011. The league claimed the Syrian government had allegedly launched a crackdown on opposition protests. Syria, however, strongly rejected the allegation and denounced the move as “illegal and a violation of the organization’s charter.”

In December last year, Tunisia resumed direct flights with Syria as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reopened its embassy in Damascus. Shortly afterwards, Bahrain also confirmed that its consulate in Damascus and the Syrian diplomatic mission in Manama were also operational.

Qatar, which is in a bitter feud with some Persian Gulf neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in January ruled out the possibility of re-opening an embassy in Damascus.

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